Tag Archives: Poplars

Is jaywalking still illegal?

The in basket: Melissa Carter Tangen asks a question I’m surprised hasn’t been asked before during the 19 years of the Road Warrior column. Is there still such a thing as jaywalking?

“The other day I was driving along Kitsap Mall Boulevard,” Melissa said, “and a man was standing at the corner of Poplars Road, with the intent to cross towards the mall. This is not a crosswalk and there are no signs alerting drivers that pedestrians may be crossing.

“A deputy was ahead of me in the left lane, I was in the lane closest to the curb, and he had stopped in middle of the road to apparently allow the pedestrian to cross.  This was unknown to me at the time.

“I slowed down, looked around to see if there was anything in middle of the road that was preventing the deputy from driving and saw nothing so I continued slowly forward.  The deputy then caught up with me, lights flashing, and warned me that pedestrians always have the right of way (agreed), and if there is any intent to cross the road, no matter where they are, that the drivers must stop.

“Obviously I understand if there is a person in the road crossing, I am going to stop.  However if they are standing on the curb planning to cross when the traffic is gone and they are not near a crosswalk, am I really supposed to just stop in middle of the road so they can perform, in all intents and purposes, a ‘jaywalk’?

“I could not find this rule anywhere in researching online, and in my opinion this is very dangerous because the drivers are not expecting to have to stop in middle of a stretch of road for a pedestrian who does not wish to walk to a crosswalk.  Can you enlighten me as to whether this is the law or just a common courtesy that may be done for a pedestrian?”

The out basket: Actually, the pedestrian Melissa describes was in a crosswalk, an unmarked one, which are considered to exist at any intersection of public roads that doesn’t have the painted variety.

Jaywalking does exist but, like California stops, the law doesn’t use the term. It says that a pedestrian cannot legally cross in the middle of a block with traffic signals at adjacent intersections. Kitsap Mall Boulevard’s intersections with Silverdale Way and Northwest Plaza Road aren’t adjacent, because Poplars lies between them and has no traffic signals. Plaza and Randall Way, the next street to the north, have no intervening intersections, so would be considered to be adjacent and crossing at mid-block there would be illegal.

Entrances to business parking areas are not legally intersections.

It’s a $56 fine.

Adjacent intersections with signals are uncommon in Kitsap County, and therefore, so is jaywalking

Frankly, it’s a tough call on whether to stop for a pedestrian waiting at the edge of a four- or five-lane street at an unmarked crosswalk, legally required or not. Drivers may not be able to see the walker because some car will always be stopped first, and may shield the pedestrian from the view of those in the other lane. If you don’t properly interpret why the other car is stopped, it seems a situation where the pedestrian is in greater danger, not less.

But the law says what it says, and Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s department, puts it this way.

“We recognize that the location where Poplars Avenue joins Kitsap Mall Boulevard is not the most optimum in that the intersection is on a curve.  This intersection does not contain a marked crosswalk that crosses the five lanes of Kitsap Mall Boulevard.

” A pedestrian who wishes to cross Kitsap Mall Boulevard, at this intersection, is required to wait until approaching traffic is clear and it is safe to proceed across the roadway, per RCW 46.61.240(1).”

If you want to read an RCW, they are online at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/

“If a pedestrian has stepped off of the curb and is walking across a marked or unmarked crosswalk,” Scott said, “approaching traffic must stop and yield to the pedestrian when the pedestrian is within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling.  Essentially, if the pedestrian is crossing in front of them, drivers need to wait until the pedestrian has reached the centerline or center turn lane before proceeding. If the pedestrian is crossing from the opposite side, drivers must stop and yield once the pedestrian arrives at the roadway centerline or center turn lane.  RCW 46.61.235(1).

“Whenever a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk, or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.  RCW 46.61.235(4). This is the statute that applies to the situation presented by Ms.Tangen.

“Without speaking with the deputy mentioned in Ms. Tangen’s e-mail,” Scott continued, “I don’t have the total story as to why the deputy stopped to permit the pedestrian to cross at that intersection.  The law doesn’t require a driver to stop for a pedestrian waiting on the sidewalk at an unmarked intersection to cross the street. It’s the pedestrian’s responsibility to yield to approaching traffic and proceed across the intersection when it’s safe to do so.

“Jaywalking: yes, in those instances where a pedestrian would be crossing the roadway between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation.  This is more applicable to urban settings than to most situations in unincorporated Kitsap County, as there may be significant distance between adjacent intersections with traffic control signals.

“Pedestrian safety recommendation: Take the extra time and steps to walk to the nearest signal-controlled intersection. It doesn’t take that much time.  It’s inherently much safer than attempting to cross five lanes of traffic where drivers are not expecting a pedestrian to cross and visibility of the pedestrian (by drivers) may be hampered.  Go with the signal… it’s in your favor!”

Explaining new Poplar Street intersection in Silverdale

The in basket: Ian MacKenzie wrote, “I was wondering if you have heard any explanation for the change that was made to the intersection of Silverdale Way and Poplars (Avenue),  by the new YMCA.

“I can understand the need for upgrading the intersection to accommodate the increased traffic with the YMCA,” he said, “but it really seems goofy the way they did it. You used to be able to make a left turn from northbound Silverdale Way to Poplars (two-way left-turn lane). Now you cannot.

“It seems as if it is forcing people to either turn into the parking lot further up Silverdale Way and come back through the parking lot or go all the way up to Ridgetop Boulevard and make a left at the light then make another left onto Poplars and come from the north.”

The out basket: Right-in-right-out accesses are a time-honored traffic control when left turns have proven dangerous or delay traffic behind left turners waiting for traffic to clear. In this case, it’s the danger element.

Jeff Shea, traffic engineer for Kitsap County Public Works, says, “Silverdale Way is one of the top 10 corridors for collisions in Kitsap County. One of the primary causes of accidents along that corridor is traffic entering and exiting from the many approaches and side roads.

“Even before the YMCA was built and Poplars was reconfigured, several collisions occurred at that location,” he said, “With the increased traffic generated by the development, we decided to restrict the movements at Poplars to right in, right out to preclude more collisions.

“The raised island at the intersection was built to prevent motorists from making illegal turn movements,” Jeff added.  “Signs and pavement markings are less effective as physical barriers in restricting traffic movements.